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Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2020 Jan 25. pii: S0939-4753(20)30021-1. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2020.01.005. [Epub ahead of print]

Urinary phenols and parabens and diabetes among US adults, NHANES 2005-2014.

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Social & Scientific Systems, 4505 Emperor Boulevard, Suite 400, Durham, NC, 27703, USA; Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 135 Dauer Drive 2101 McGavran-Greenberg Hall, CB #7435, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-7435, USA. Electronic address:
Social & Scientific Systems, 8757 Georgia Avenue, 12th Floor, Silver Spring, MD, 20910, USA. Electronic address:
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, 6707 Democracy Boulevard Bethesda, MD 20892, USA. Electronic address:



Phenols and parabens are ubiquitous and have been associated with markers of cardiovascular health. However, the literature lacks population-based studies examining the link between these endocrine disruptors and diabetes. We examined the association between paraben/phenol concentrations and diabetes among a nationally representative sample of US adults.


We utilized data from the 2005-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (N = 8498). Total urinary concentrations of BPA, triclosan, BP-3, and propyl, butyl, ethyl, and methyl parabens were measured from urine specimens collected during the examination session. Diabetes status was based on self-report of a previous diagnosis or HbA1c≥6.5%. We used logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) associated with the difference in log-transformed values of the 75th and 25th percentiles for each phenol/paraben, adjusting for potential confounders. The adjusted ORs (95% CI) of diabetes comparing the 75th to 25th percentiles of each paraben/phenol were 1.09 (0.96-1.23) for BPA, 0.84 (0.72-0.98) for triclosan, 0.69 (0.61-0.79) for BP-3, 0.71 (0.61-0.83) for propyl paraben, 0.66 (0.54-0.80) for butyl paraben, 0.60 (0.51-0.71) for ethyl paraben, and 0.79 (0.68-0.91) for methyl paraben.


Higher concentrations of triclosan, BP-3, and propyl, butyl, ethyl, and methyl parabens were associated with lower odds of diabetes. These findings warrant further investigation into the potential mechanism behind the observed associations and the temporal direction of the associations, given that we cannot rule out reverse causation. Future studies of these endocrine disruptors may improve the understanding of their relationship with diabetes.


Benzophenone-3; Diabetes; Parabens; Phenols; Triclosan; United States

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of Competing Interest The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

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